Internal security in the EU: the priorities of the next 18 months

Following the previous note on borders, immigration and asylum we wil now proceed with the priorities announced by the Spanish presidency in the field of internal security of the EU. These come from the working document of the Spanish, Belgium and Hungarian Council Presidencies which will follow one after the other in the next 18 months. As usual, additional notes will provide a comprehensive overview of the different topics.

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Counter terrorism – between watchlist and no-flight list

It was only recently, on 9 December during a hearing in front of the Internal Security Commission of the Senate, that the US administration was reassuring senators of the efficiency of the system of prevention of terrorist attacks, specifically concerning air transportation.

From the hearing emerged that enormous progresses have been made since the constitution of the Counter Terrorism Centre of (CST) in 2003 since information coming from different disparate resources (from intelligence, such as CIA and National Security Agency, to security, such as FBI, , the Homeland Security Department and the State Department) have all been collected in one single watch list.

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The new powers of the Court of Justice after the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty

The press release published on November 30th by the Court of Justice is worth reading by everybody interested in the European Law as well by the every individual whishing to bthe protection of its rights.
The very essential and clear text is the following:

The Treaty of Lisbon and the Court of Justice of the European Union

The Treaty of Lisbon, which was signed on 13 December 2007 by the 27 Heads of State or Government of the Member States of the Union, comes into force on 1 December 2009. It amends the two fundamental treaties – the Treaty on European Union (TEU) and the Treaty establishing the European Community, with the latter to be known in future as the ‘Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union’ (TFEU). (1)
The Treaty of Lisbon makes changes to the organisation and jurisdiction of the Court of Justice of the European Union.

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The Council signes the provisional agreement on SWIFT

Despite the European Parliament concerns, the Council has signed the last day before the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty on Novembre 30th, an EU-US agreement on the processing and transfer of financial messaging data for the fight against terrorism. The agreement will be provisionnally applicable from 1 February 2010 and will expire on 31 October 2010.

However, due to the reservations put forward by two Member States the agreement has not been formally concluded under the Nice Treaty so that at the entry into force of the new Treaty on December 1st a new legal regime has entered into force which require for the conclusion the approbation by the European Parliament.

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Data protection: At last published the revision of the “E-Privacy” Directive

By updating its regulatory framework for electronic communications networks and services the EU has notably amended the Directives 2002/22/EC (Universal Service Directive) and 2002/58/EC (Directive on privacy and electronic communications). The final text retain the EP amendments (**) which include:

– adaptation of universal service to market and technological developments, including allowing Member States to upgrade universal service obligations to broadband services;

– strengthened access to e-communications for disabled people, in particular via the inclusion of terminal equipment in the scope of the Directive; increased access to and choice of services for the disabled, strengthened right to emergency services in the EU;

– improved contract conditions and greater information to consumers on services, including increased comparability of prices and greater power to the National Regulatory Authorities (NRAs) on tariff information for consumers;

– information to users on the most common uses of e-communications services to engage in unlawful activities or to disseminate harmful content;

– strengthened provisions on access to emergency services, including inter alia a stronger obligation to pass caller location information to the emergency authorities, improved citizens awareness of  ‘112′ number; and introduction of comitology powers for the Commission on access to ‘112’ services;

– facilitating citizens’ access to services starting with “116” for certain services of social value such as reporting missing children, and implementing powers for the Commission to ensure the effective implementation of 116 numbering ranges;

– facilitation of change of provider, including a time limit for number activation after porting; reinforcement of NRAs’ powers to monitor and enforce porting; creation of comitology powers for the modernisation of porting obligations;

– measures to be taken by providers in order to safeguard the security of their services; 
obligation for providers of electronic communications services to notify security breaches affecting personal data to authorities and (in some cases) to subscribers or individuals concerned and introduction of implementing powers for the Commission on the modalities of breach notifications;

– strengthened provisions on protection against spyware and placing of cookies on users’ devices.